By Thomas, Year 13

I’m sure we’ve all heard that saying, you don’t know how much you appreciate something until it’s gone. There are many things we fail to realize the true value of until they’re missing from our lives. The clichéd ones being our phone, the internet, and toilet paper. Just imagine what we would do without toilet paper. What will we use?

You don’t realise how important our phone, the internet and toilet paper are in your lives until you must go days without it. Enjoy the little things in life because someday you will realise, they were the big things.

For me, the thing in ten months’ time I will undoubtedly come to realise that I didn’t appreciate nearly as much as I should, would be Barney. I’ll be longing to be within these four walls once more, just for a day, to see everyone and feel that unique Barney spirit. According to some, this feeling of longing for something after it’s gone, even if it’s less tangible, is similar to grief – we’d never thought we’d lose it – just like Barney, just like our phones, like the internet, like… toilet paper.

Take morning chapel. Before lockdown, 650 Barney pupils shuffled up chapel stairs on a Monday morning, revived when hearing the wonderful sound of Mr Dawson on the organ, and taking part in a rousing rendition of Jerusalem, complete with a great ‘Oh clouds unfold!’ from York house. And though, many of us may prefer to be a bit more… horizontal 9am on a Monday morning, I began to feel myself missing chapel throughout lockdown. But this made me reflect. I applied the saying “You never appreciate something fully until you don’t have it” to the loss of Monday morning chapel. I sat thinking to myself, I’ve always appreciated the chapel. The sound of the organ, singing Jerusalem – who wouldn’t! This sent me down a rabbit hole – I wanted to get Mrs Campbell’s view on it – so I asked her, apart from a family member, what was something you lost that you miss the most? Her response, and some of you will like this – the EU. I asked why, to which she said, referring to a line from the EU’s anthem – Beethoven’s 9th Symphony – Alle Menschen werden Brüder, which means, when translated from German – all men shall become brothers – her view on what the EU embodies. I also posed this question Mr Beaty, to which he responded, “Landrover Defenders” – although still around, a dying breed, with the cease of production in 2016. Both these people, for various reasons, have long appreciated things, even before they lost them. Mrs Campbell deeply appreciated the cheap flights to Ibiza for clubbing with her EU passport and Mr Beaty, since he still lives in 1974, he gets awfully excited over a good engine.

On reflection, I suppose we should say, instead of, “You never begin to appreciate something until it’s gone,” I think this would be better – “You always knew what you had, you just never thought you’d lose it.”

This is perfectly true and applicable to other situations: if one awful day you had no internet or mobile phones; if one day, there was no Barney; if one day, no Monday morning Chapel, or no EU, or no land rover defenders, and of course, if one day, there was no toilet paper.